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Letter from the Head of Secondary - 21st April 2016

21 April 2016

Last weekend, Year 10 and 12 Geography students ventured to beautiful Tianmushan for their annual rivers trip, collecting data on the ways in which a river changes as it moves from its source towards the sea, which is essential fieldwork for their IGCSE and IB studies. During the trip they looked at velocity, depth, changes in sediment and wetted perimeter, as well as water quality. In addition to the fieldwork, students also spent time on theory and analysis, and managed to become quite a tourist attraction themselves when they stopped to take some measurements near a local guesthouse!

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Also last weekend, a large group of students from Year 7 – 13 headed to BISS Puxi for their annual MUN (Model United Nations) conference. With a host of contentious and controversial topics on the agenda, the forums were full of passionate debating and heated discussions. Thankfully, most of the resolutions were passed indicating the success of cooperation and diplomacy. Ashley Fung was declared the Best Delegate in the Human Rights Council, Warren Gichana picked up most diplomatic speaker in The General Assembly, while Marcel Natter won a special mention for his endeavours on the Security Council. For those of you who don’t know much about MUN, it is essentially a debating squad, but instead of debating mundane issues or merely practising their rhetorical skills, these students represent the countries of the world and defend those countries’ policies on security, the environment, human rights and other interesting global issues. It is a fantastic platform for practising what we preach in terms of promoting a truly global outlook.

On Monday and Tuesday, we welcomed Year 12 and Year 9 parents respectively to join us for their year group awards assemblies. As with Years 7 and 8 the previous week, these were hugely positive events with students feeling justifiably proud of their efforts and their progress so far this year. A similar event for Year 10 is scheduled for next Tuesday and pre-exam assemblies, also encompassing awards, will take place for Years 11 and 13 on Friday 29 April. We hope to see lots of parents at these events.

Today we have welcomed Year 7 and 8 parents into school for an event looking at the future of assessment and reporting at Key Stage 3. With changes afoot, both in the UK and internationally, we are currently reviewing our assessment and reporting arrangements for next year, to bring them in line with these changes and also to try and make the process as useful, coherent and user-friendly as possible across the whole Secondary school.

It’s hard to believe that next week is the last week of school for Years 11 and 13 before their exams begin, and we wish them every success as they approach these important milestones. A reminder for Year 11 students that after the exams finish on 17 June, we expect them back in school from 20 – 22 June for an important introduction to their IB Programme studies.

I know that our Year 11 and 13 students will have their heads buried in their books, but I wish everyone else a lovely weekend.

Dinah Hawtree

Head of Secondary